Minerals, unlike vitamins, are inorganic and do not contain the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms found in all organic compounds. However, they also are present in plants and animal foods, but they are imported from the soil and then from the plants that animals eat. Minerals, too, are essential for human life and are classified as major minerals and trace elements.
The major minerals are Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sulfur, Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride. Calcium is important for forming bones and teeth, maintaining the electrolyte balance in your body, and controlling high blood pressure. Calcium may even lower the risk of cancer of the colon and rectum.
Trace elements include Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Fluoride, Chromium, and Molybdenum. One of the most important is Iron because it is an essential part of hemoglobin and myoglobin, the parts of blood that store and transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also a part of various enzymes. The best sources of this element are organ meats and red meats, egg yolks, wheat germ, and oysters. Whole grains, wheat germ, California Raisins, nuts, seeds, prunes and prune juice, and potato skins contain nonheme iron, which is more available when eaten with meat or foods that are rich in Vitamin C, like tomatoes and citrus fruits.
The percentage of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for both Vitamins A and C and the minerals Calcium and Iron, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, are listed on the nutrition facts label that you will find on most packaged foods.
Speaking of vitamins and minerals, there is no better place to stock up on these than with those fresh fruits and vegetables that come in the spring. And, no better way to “think green and save the planet” than to eat lots of your locally grown in-season produce. A good place to find these is at a farmers market in your neighborhood.
Valerie Waters, fitness consultant to the stars, recommends education through sampling. She says: “We all know kids can be notoriously picky when it comes to food. Try taking them to a farmers market, where they will learn that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket and that there are seasons for different foods. They will be encouraged to sample a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and often nuts or dried fruit. And, a farmers market is a fun outing for the whole family.”
Plan an outing for the entire family, very soon, and bring home some new foods to enjoy vegetarian-style. So fresh and flavorful, just add California Raisins, and the tastes will amaze you!
This Mother’s Day, honor your very special Mom by doing something extra special. Plan a do-ahead brunch or take her breakfast in bed. Either way, everyone gets involved and surprises Mom! The kids can help prepare these easy and delicious dishes, and almost all of it can be done the night before.
Start off with colorful Fruit Salsa Salad made the night before and chilled. At the same time, prepare the syrup, dip the bread in the custard, and arrange it in a glass baking dish, so that the Easy Oven-baked French Toast with Raisin Syrup is just ready to pop into the oven in the morning. Be sure to store it in the refrigerator, of course, and bake it a bit longer than the recipe says for the very best results.
It’s so easy to pay special attention to Mother on her day, and you will love the extra time you have to spend with her when you use these do-ahead ideas.
California produces the World’s best, nutritious and fun-filled fruit. Eat more California Raisins in 2008.
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